1. Stand out from the crowd
The ability to speak, read and write Welsh is an additional skill which can be an advantage to job seekers.
Being able to use the Welsh language may be what makes your CV or application form stand out from other applicants.
So what’s happening to make Welsh important on my CV?
- In some areas of Wales companies operate through the medium of Welsh and face difficulties in recruiting staff with the appropriate bilingual skills.
- There are also examples of companies who only recruit Welsh speakers.
- Young people and new businesses are more likely to use the Welsh language. There is a strong feeling among employers that young people are more confident using Welsh as they have been through the Welsh education system.
- Many organisation’s Welsh Language Schemes include the following commitment:
‘When appointing staff, the organisation will consider proficiency in the Welsh language as an additional qualification, all other things being equal.’
- 309 private sector companies have signed up to the Welsh Language Board’s Investing in Welsh mark. 537 public sector organisations implement Welsh Language Schemes, which commit to providing services through the medium of Welsh under the 1993 Welsh Language Act. In order to realise their commitment to the Welsh language, both sectors seek to employ staff with bilingual skills. For example:
- BT has reviewed the demand for the use of the Welsh language and has identified key areas for bilingual service delivery. This entails the appointment of staff with specific bilingual skills to Welsh essential posts.
- North Wales Police has specific Welsh language skills development plans in place for current and new staff. As a result, only 4% of its staff in 2010 have no Welsh skills compared to 10% in 2006.
What do employers say?
“Welsh would be a huge advantage to someone starting out in broadcasting. It just gives you so many more opportunities of working on Welsh language programmes for S4C or for Radio Cymru – it would definitely be a huge asset”.
Lucy Owen, Broadcaster
“When BT recruits employees in Wales, having the ability to speak Welsh is most definitely considered as an added skill. Many of our jobs involve dealing with the public, thus being able to speak both languages is a huge asset. If two applicants had the same skill levels, but only one of them was Welsh speaking, the latter would be considered as having an extra skill and more likely to be offered employment. Not only is this important at the recruitment stage; we continually seek Welsh speakers who want to develop a long term career within BT.”
Geraint Strello, Welsh Language Policy Manager, BT
“Today, more than ever, knowledge of another language is a valuable skill”.
Eluned Morgan, Former MEP
Sources: Mabis Report on the Use of the Welsh Language in the Private Sector (2007)
CILT Cymru website
Be sure to read more articles in this series to find out why Welsh language skills can make a difference.
Next article: 'You're Hired' - why people with bilingual skills are likely to be more employable.